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A more detailed view of the CRL alignment

Auckland Transport have published a new map of the CRL alignment showing just where the tunnels and stations will be going. What is interesting is just how far apart the the tunnels are at the K Rd and Newton stations.

And here is a bit of a closer look at the area around the stations.

 And a close up look at the the eastern link

39 comments to A more detailed view of the CRL alignment

  • Lukei

    So…..there Eastern Link is definitely being built?

    • No, they are getting the designation for both the Inner west interchange and the Eastern link and will decide later on which of the two to build (we have heard it will be one or the other)

  • Peter M

    Interesting heritage battle brewing over that strip of shops next to Victoria and Albert intersection.

    • Why not work more with the existing empty site on the other side of the street; uncooperative land owner? What building owner wouldn’t want the busiest station emptying out onto potential retail floors in their building though? Seems hard to believe.

      • James B

        That site has only recently been on sold. The new owners have only had owned the site for a few weeks. I imagine they will develop plans for the site and then start negotiations with AT.

      • Mr Anderson

        The designation footprint could have extended over the very southern edge of that site to provide a pedestrian link to Aotea Station. It’s simply bizarre that hasn’t been included. Do they want to force people to walk uphill from Queen Street to access the station when the alternative would be a nice level walk from Queen Street, Darby Street through to concourse level of the station.

        Sometimes one really does question whether AT knows what they’re doing on this project.

        • Ingolfson

          Mr Anderson – do you know what getting a ground-level access through a skyscraper site COSTS? Neither do I, but I suspect it would add another couple million to the deal, and a potential legal fight.

          Now I will happily agree that such a link could be a bonanza for a developer willing to do it. In fact, one of those guys in Elliot Street is very likely to jump at it. So why fight this fight now? The station will work fine as it is, and that added ped link can easily be offered to the highest bidder, saving money, instead of adding another target for the “it will bankrup Auckland” crowd.

  • So they have designed the K’Rd and Newton alignments in order to be able to put the tunnels through and complete the stations latter.

    Two surprises for me: Seems to be no plans at this to integrate Aotea station with the empty site on the corner of Albert and Victoria…. perhaps that won’t happen until there are real plans for this site…? And they don’t seem to be planing to use the carpark between Symonds St and the water tanks at Newton for station entrances? Or are these just indications of the underground areas?

    Track layout as expected; hopefully that interchange is not all at grade. Though I still see no need for the innerwest interchange station, unless there is to no eastern link and they are working towards a suboptimal ‘commuter’ running pattern over a much better ‘metro’ one……

  • Mr Anderson

    No obvious pedestrian link through to Darby Street and Elliott Street. That seems to be a stupid omission.

    • James B

      The site was only recently sold. Negotiations with the new owners will be ongoing. It’s not stupid to think that they may want to discuss the plans with the new owners and incorporate the station with whatever they are going to build rather than just unilaterally pushing an entrance through that might not incorporate with the building.

  • James B

    If the Western Interchange is built I’ll be able to exit my apartment and walk straight into the station.

  • Shaun

    I may have missed this in a previous report, but does this mean that Aotea would have side platforms but K’Rd and Newton will be having island platforms?

    Also for what it’s worth, would it make any sense to create a walkway across that carpark (or through the future development that will be there) beside Aotea so you can walk from Queen St -> Darby -> Elliot -> Aotea Station?

    • Mr Anderson

      Images we’ve seen of Aotea show it as an island platform. Putting a walkway across the carpark to link Aotea Station with Darby Street is an obvious no brainer. Much better than demolishing that cute row of shops on Victoria Street for no obvious reason.

    • Shaun – In addition to Mt Anderson’s comment, My understanding is that the K Rd and Newton stations will just be an enlarged tube that will be connected to each other by cross passages rather than having a single cavern type station.

  • Anthony

    The TBM rail tunnels are 7m diameter each. K’Rd & Newton stations are formed by enlarging the tunnel on each track to 11m diameter with cross passages between and only shafts for access. The original concept was to have one island platform but the size of cavern that would have to be created underground was to much risk/too big.
    The aerial photo overlay presented to landowners showed the station areas in slightly more detail, the cross passages between platforms could be seen. This still hasn’t been posted online.
    This is all only concept level design. Station access is still to be confirmed. The Auckland Transport people I spoke with certainly knew about Darby St, and now that the council owns the ASB tower, they’ll be looking at that too. The possibility of a Myers Park enterance was raised.

    • Mr Anderson

      The Darby Street link can be “talked about” all AT like, but until it’s in the designation footprint all that talk is irrelevant.

      • I have heard that the previous owner who had planned a massive tower for the site had pushed quite hard for the CRL as he wanted to integrate the station into his building as he knew how much more successful that would make it from his experiences in his native Korea. Who knows what the new owner things but they would be stupid not to think about it. It has been reported that he is planning a hotel for the site which would mean that next to the station there would be 3 major hotels (Crowne Plaza and Sky City Grand) along with lots of others close by. These would be pretty popular once a rail line to the airport was built for the convenience factor alone.

        • Nick R

          A developer would need to have rocks in their head to not integrate their site with the station. If they built the “main entrance” through their basement to Darby and Queen the foot traffic would be immense, that translates directly into big retail rents. Given the option of a basement level or some carparking, or intensive retailing with mega foot traffic you’d have to go with the latter, the returns on the floor area would be ten times as high.

    • Have AC bought the ASB Tower or just leased it from Multiplex? Messing with the foundations of a building this high is unlikely. AC certainly do own the crumbling little shops diagonally opposite this tower and as indicated in the plan above this will be an entrance to Aotea Station. They also own the crappy at grade carpark between this site and the Aotea centre and must develop this site at the same time removing all of the parking. Like the other at grade parking on the other side of the square there is no excuse for this appalling low level land use by AC. Rate payers have been hit up twice now for the huge underground parking amenity between these two sites and the very least we can expect from this is better use of land around it. Building or open space, anything but council parking.

      • No they have brought it outright. I think I saw an earlier comment where they said that as they were planning to be there for a long time then it was better to buy it than lease it.
        http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10821929

        Auckland Council claims it will save $101.8 million in property expenses after 20 years with its $104 million purchase of the ASB Bank Tower on Albert St.

        • Publius

          Didn’t this building have provision for a proposed (robbies rail?) rail tunnel connection when it was built? Someone here might be able to enlighten us.

          • Dion

            No I believe that was the former ASB Building (now owned by Unite I think – or at the very least they are the main tenant, ASB still has a branch there) on the corner of Queen and Wellesley Street East. Not sure what the provisions made for the tunnel were though but perhaps it could be useful for a future North Shore Line under Wellesley Street?

          • Nick R

            Yes it was the old ASB building. Nothing too interesting, the building was designed with a large basement level intended for use as the entrance concourse to a station built under Queen St itself. So really it’s just a large basement, probably not much advantage to go there.

  • Shaun

    As it will become one of the most important stations on the rail network, I would imagine that Aotea would have at least something like 4-5 entrances/exits – not sure how many the picture shows but that looks like one at each end. Can’t tell for sure though.

    I’m not sure about the need to have a large street-level presence though (as shown here: http://transportblog.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/aotea-station.jpg)

    • Once the CRL is built it is projected to be the busiest station by quite a bit. I also imagine that it will eventually have lots of entrances as many of the neighbouring sites will want potential customers to have as easy access as possible. Building those entrances should be charged to those benefiting and considered as a way of helping to fund the station

  • I really hope the interchange station is canned. Imagine three stops (Kingsland, Interchange & Newton) all in very quick succession. Along with the inability operate a proper network structure (as per the mayor’s vision, which AT doesn’t seem to agree with), its very proposal is an absurdity.

  • Anthony

    Yes it was the older ASB building opposite the Civic that had provision in the basement for connection to a station.

  • RHarris

    One positive thing of the interchange if it goes ahead is that it may give incentive to get rid of that ugly interchange and put shops and apartments there instead.

    Can really see the top end of Ponsonby Rd developing with the K Rd station.

  • (Someone may had raised this above but I’m going to state it anyway) The western interchange looks awfully close to the Kingsland Station.

  • Ingolfson

    I presume designation of part of your land as rail carries a logical cost with it – if you sell your property, it’s going to be worth less. So Council may have to compensate owners even when not yet building the CRL?

    If my understanding is true, how much of a cost is there in designating both Eastern Link and interchange? Normally I am all for futureproofing, but how much will this cost at the current stage?

  • Jamie Walton

    Happy New Year everyone. Been meaning to make a couple of comments on this CRL design for about 18 months; better late than never, so here goes:

    1. Do we really need such tight curves and steep grades?

    It seems we’re going backwards from the 19th Century. If the horizontal alignment curving west from Britomart followed closer to Fanshawe St before continuing to curve around to Aotea station, then the curve radius could be about 400m and the grade 1 in 40 (due to the slightly longer distance and perhaps some greater depth of cover above Aotea station). At the southern end, if the Newton station was further to the west, say in the vicinity between Dundonald St and Exmouth St, then Newton station could serve the Upper Queen St area better and still serve the busy road intersection areas at the southern end of Symonds St that it is planned to serve already, the horizontal alignment between Newton station and Karangahape station could be one curve of about 400m radius instead of a tight S-curve, and the westward and eastward chords connecting with the existing Western line could be of about 400m radii also and the grade could stay at 1 in 40 – the same as the ruling grade on the rest of the system (yes, the Newton and Karangahape stations may have to be a bit deeper, but they’re going to be deep stations anyway – a few more metres won’t make much noticeable difference). The grade divergence to the west and east on the Western line may stretch back a bit further, but it’s doable (perhaps Grafton station could do with lowering as well anyway).

    2. Do we really need such short platforms at the stations?

    Platform lengths of 200m would allow for at least 8-car trains, which is often a minimum train consist on most systems overseas.

    If the worst comes to the worst and they build this antiquated route, it can be converted into an underground tram/light rail loop in the CBD later, by switching it to do a U-turn around Mayoral Dr and then run down Kitchener St-O’Connell St-Commerce St back to Britomart – with a further below-street-level loop doing a U-turn at Mercury Ln-Canada St and heading back under Symonds St-Wakefield St to rejoin the inner loop under Mayoral Dr, and a properly-aligned Metro/commuter rail route (as suggested above) can run underneath it along sections of Albert St – like the Muni runs above the BART under Market St in downtown San Francisco.

    It’s just so tedious being on trains that crawl and shudder around ridiculously tight curves at a snail’s pace (e.g. around Vector Arena between Britomart and Newmarket), and it’s embarrassing when we take overseas visitors on the train, they say “Is this really a new part of your rail system?” – “Yes” I have to groan. I believe that one day we will have a system we can be proud of, but it may take a while.

    • Jamie
      1. This is the only really practical route. Going wider between Britomart and Aotea would require both a lot more tunnelling and would also require the purchase and demolition of a number of buildings. The previous study had the route taking a slightly more straight and westerly approach with a station roughly on Exmouth St and that was looked this time but it was decided the Symonds St location would be better suited. The grades are partly about reducing the amount of tunnelling required. In short it could be made with wider curves and better grades but it would add a lot of extra costs which could be enough to kill the project completely. Here are the different options looked at this time

      2. The platform lengths are a result of a number of factors. First our EMUs are 3 cars long with two of the cars being powered, that means any consist would have to either 3, 6 or 9 cars in length and as each EMU is also ~72m long it means platforms would need to be able to handle trains of either 72m, 144m or 216m in length. Without drastically changing the EMU setup, we are not going to get 8 car trains (making each EMU four cars long would impact the power to weight ratio). From memory the proposed platforms are 160m long, extending them to be long enough to handle a 9 car train would result in the tunnel either being even steeper or needing to be longer to compensate and that would add extra costs. There would be other challenges as well e.g. to get to the Albert St station, the tunnel has to rise enough to get above the main sewer pipe that runs under Victoria St (that sewer serves pretty much the entire the western side of isthmus so isn’t easy to move). Making the station longer would see it almost pop out of the ground on Mayoral Dr. Don’t get to caught up the number of cars in each train for example London underground trains are often 8 cars in length but in total are only about ~130m as each carriage is much shorter than what we will have.

      I do agree having tight corners like at Britomart isn’t ideal but sadly it is the result of years of underinvestment and penny pinching along with a lack of route protection.

  • Jamie Walton

    Thanks Matt for your full, well-informed and conciliatory reply. I guess I’m always looking 100 years ahead, and need to be reminded that we need to get there from here in more than one step.

    From memory, from reading the initial business case documents about 18 months ago, I think the platform lengths were stated at 170m, and I didn’t know what the rolling stock would be, but knew that the maximum length of carriages is about 25m; therefore 8 should fit on a 200m platform. I also didn’t know (or forgot) about the sewer main – is that shown on any long-sections available to the public?

    I believe that one day the penny-pinching will be a thing of the past, and we won’t have to put up with “Gerry-built” cities. Cheers.

  • Jamie Walton

    P.S. I agree that of the route options looked at above, the one chosen was the best. I was thinking that it could be tweaked with a “hybrid” route.

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